The days of teams turning up to play football with the express purpose of enjoying themselves and putting on a show for an adoring public is unfortunately a thing of a bygone era.
The necessity to win at all costs has become the one and only aim of all clubs nowadays, and that objective is almost always achieved with the use of unsavory methods, whether that be a sneaky handball, a shove in the back or a scything tackle that puts the fear of God into any opponent.
And it is the aforementioned rough and tumble that we will concentrate on today as we bring you our top ten of the most ruthless players ever to grace an Italian field of play.
1 – Paolo Montero
Adored by, and probably only by Juventus fans, the Uruguayan Paolo Montero is by far the toughest player to ever step foot into Serie A.
Known in his native South America as the Terminator, the uncompromising centre-back holds the record for most red cards in the Italian top flight – 21.
Standing at very average 5 ft 10 in, Montero made up for his lack of stature with aggression levels that would have you cowering behind the sofa.
He was given a three match during the 2000-01 season, when he was clearly seen to punch Inter midfielder Luigi Di Biagio in the side of the face. Francesco Totti and the Russian Valeri Karpin also felt the full force of the Uruguay international’s uncompromising methods.
Even the press were not safe with Montero about, as he allegedly whacked a photographer and nearly broke his arm for taking too many pictures of his Bianconero team-mate Angelo Di Livio.
He had his own motto, ‘Either the player or the ball gets passed me, but never both together.’
With Paolo around, the joking was over…